Embrace HR Aylesbury legislation

April is a busy time for anyone responsible for the payroll, as the changes announced in November’s budget come into effect…

Keeping up with the changes in regulation can be mind-boggling sometimes, so here is our handy guide to the latest changes in wages and pension payments so you can keep on track.

First is the National Living Wage, which applies to employees over the age of 25. This increased from April 1 2018 by 33p an hour, taking the hourly rate from £7.50 to £7.83.

For those under 25, the National Minimum Wage applies – there’s a number of rates depending on age and whether employees are on an apprentice scheme:

  • Age 21-24 increased to £7.38 (was £7.05)
  • Age 18-20 Increased to £5.90 (was £5.60)
  • Under 18s increased to £4.20 (was 4.05)
  • Apprentices under 19 are entitled to £3.70 (was £3.50)

Your company may be interested in signing up to the Real Living Wage scheme, which aims to recognise the real cost of living. The level of the wage is set by the charity Living Wage Foundation, and more than 3,000 employers are already signed up to the scheme. The current Living Wage is £8.75 an hour (£10.20 in London). It applies to all over 18s and a new rate is calculated each November.

While committing to the Real Living Wage is voluntary, the minimum contributions set by the government for automatic enrolment contributions to workplace pensions are not.

There are two phases to the increase in these contributions – one started on 6 April 2018 and the next will take place from 6 April 2019.

The increase applies to all employers with staff in a pension scheme, and it is the employers’ responsibility to make sure the payments are made.

The amount you have to pay will depend on the type of scheme you have signed up for. Most schemes require a minimum 2% of earnings (increasing to 3% next April) and based on a specific earnings range (between £6,032 and £46,350 for 2018/2019). Calculations include salary, wages, commission, overtime, bonuses and statutory sick pay, as well as statutory adoption pay, statutory maternity pay and paternity pay.

Finally, another big requirement for companies is the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which comes into effect on 25 May 2018. The requirements are being introduced in order to protect the data of Europe’s residents. A useful guide to this can be found at https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/Introduction.

There’s a lot to take in with all these changes, and any part of the HR process that can be automated has to help with the job. HR software takes a lot of the hassle out of the everyday management jobs in HR – keeping track of holidays, absences, performance and so on. Discover more about our Cloud software and read more about the importance of automating processes here.

If you would like to discuss this subject further, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 07767 308717 or send an email.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury People working

Do you value your staff above all else…?

Is your organisation a People Company? Does it put the success and well-being of its staff at the top of its dream board? And would your staff say this is true?

If so, congratulations, you truly have a People Company!

So what exactly is a People Company?

As we have already stated, it’s an organisation where the staff are highly valued, and where the management know that they need to help their people to develop in order to grow the company. Not only do the company’s leaders believe that, but their staff will know that they are important and valuable to the organisation. In return, these staff will value their place in the company and work to the best of their ability to help the organisation succeed.

One of the most vital factors is that employees actually believe that you, as an organisation, are people-oriented – which means the company’s actions must support this point of view.

The importance of the HR department

To keep and retain the best people, you must take on a proactive role, ensuring that staff are engaged, which in turn will increase levels of productivity. You need to be ahead of the game to succeed, to recruit the right people, to develop their skills, and to keep them on board.

To do this, HR must ensure that it is focusing on the people who work in the organisation. It means automating the processes it can, in order to let its HR team focus on what they are skilled at – getting the best out of the staff.

The importance of automating routine processes

Making it easy to do many HR tasks automatically and online makes sense. For instance, if your staff can book their own holidays using an online system, that’s a routine job that a member of the HR team doesn’t need to handle. If managers can book appraisals and other people-managing tasks online, yet again, it’s a job an HR person doesn’t have to be involved in.

And a new job title has emerged as this trend continues – Chief People Officers. They are likely to appear in the kind of forward-thinking organisations that always spring to mind, such as Google – but even the Cabinet Office has one in the shape of Rupert McNeil [GOV.UK Rupert McNeil] – providing “professional leadership on a range of people issues, including talent, capability, inclusion, capacity, pay and employee deal, performance, employee relations, culture and behaviours.”

It’s all about the experience

However, there’s more to being a People Company though – you need to ensure that your staff are being offered engaging working experiences throughout their time with you. It starts with the recruitment process – companies now must market their own brand to would-be employees, to ensure they attract the best possible candidates.

Finding out about your new staff during the recruitment process is vital – understand them and you’ll get to understand what drives them and what will make them want to stay within your company and succeed.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 07767 308717 or send an email.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury Care Workers Image-courtesy-of-artur84-at-FreeDigitalPhotos

Specialised HR support and advice for those who employ care staff…

Having staff who work in your home can make for a delicate situation and one that requires some specialised knowledge. That’s why here at Embrace HR Limited, we have a special package to support independent case managers and their clients who employ care staff directly.

The unusual dynamics of having someone working in your home should not be underestimated – which is why we offer empathetic and expert advice for those who are managing staff who work in people’s homes.

It mustn’t be forgotten that the usual workplace issues of managing time-off, family-friendly leave, absence, performance and so on, need to be tackled just as they would be if you were employing someone to work in an office.

Our expertise in human resources can ensure that the usual employment requirements are not forgotten about just because these people are working in someone’s home.

“I am writing to acknowledge the services of Embrace HR and express my gratitude.

I would not hesitate to recommend your company to others following the service you have supplied in support of my business and my clients.

Working within the care sector brings an HR provider additional challenges. This does not just involve complex knowledge of the recruitment and employment issues for the staff engaged but also the complications of dealing with exceptionally vulnerable people and difficult family dynamics surrounding the employees.

Embrace HR has delivered an exceptionally personal and flexible service in this respect. Cecily and the Embrace HR team has been empathic and responsive to the unique customer needs. This has involved supporting highly bespoke organisation for a 24-hour care team in liaison with legal and professional partners, family members and care workers.

Each contact has required a specific approach and relevant support and information. I have found Embrace sensitive, receptive and highly professional to this at all times. The HR arrangement, support, communication and advice I have personally received has made my job a good deal easier, freeing me up to deal with my own professional priorities.

I have already recommended the service to others and look forward to working in partnership with Embrace HR into the future.

H.M. Independent Case Manager, Middlesex”

What we can do for you

  • Recruitment – getting the right staff is vital. We successfully recruit the right special needs nannies and support staff for our clients.
  • Advice – empathetic and expert advice on all employment-related issues. This might cover managing absence, maternity/paternity leave and pay, performance management, grievances and disciplinary hearings.
  • Guidance – helping case managers, team leaders, staff and parents learn how to manage staff well.
  • Employment documentation – not only will we provide all the relevant documents such as handbooks and contracts, but we will navigate through this minefield for you, explaining their importance.
  • Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) applications – leave all of that to us.
  • Liaison – we will ensure that the case manager, parents or family are all kept in the loop.

We understand that no two cases are the same, that no two families are the same, that no two support workers are the same and, as such, we strive to provide a high level of service. Our 20 years of experience in the human resources arena means that you can rely on our highly professional consultants to offer a knowledgeable service.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and find out how we could help you, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

Tel: 07767 308717 or send an email.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

 

Why HR professionals need to ensure they are complying with the latest data protection regulations…

Time moves quickly, and now there is only three months until the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) deadline comes around on 25 May 2018. Guidance can be found here. [ICO website guide to the GDPR]

HR have always had to keep people’s personal data because of the nature of employing people and was regulated under the Data Protection Act. However, the issue of keeping people’s personal data has usually been something that the marketing department has had to deal with – hence all those tick boxes on competition entries and subscription forms.

What it means

Failure to comply with the GDPR regulations will result in large fines being levied on offending organisations, so it’s important that you get it right.  Additionally, breaches must be reported to the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) within 72 hours of becoming aware of the breach.

The regulations require that when you collect data, you make the person aware of under what legal basis you are doing so, how long it will be kept for and whether it will be stored outside of the country. Where this is the case you must detail how the data will be safeguarded. You also need to let them know how they can ask for access to the files you hold and the process for requesting that they be deleted.

It’s worth remembering that the regulations apply to data however it is held – it may be on a main server, it might be in a filing cabinet in the corner of a basement office – the same rules will apply.

Although all regulation implementations involve extra work, the benefit of this work will be that it will help your HR teams to look at the way they process personal data, sort out any gaps in their compliance, and help them to build a healthier relationship with employees. In the process you may also be able to work out where training is needed or identify previously unknown skills within your team.

Data retention

The regulations are aimed at protecting personal data as people become increasingly aware of, and concerned about, how their personal information is stored and shared online. Employers will have more obligations to their staff when it comes to data storage and there will be stricter rules on how long you can keep information for – for instance details that have been gleaned during a recruitment process.

When it comes to former employees there may well be some changes and they will have a right to be ‘forgotten’. That means that while a former employer might want to keep data in case of any backdated employment claims, the employee will have more rights for their details to not be kept by you.

HR departments have been dealing with large volumes of personal date for some time, so it makes sense that this team will become the go-to place for other departments to come to for advice on what information to keep and share.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 07767 308717 or contact us here.

 

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

 

 

 

Embrace HR Aylesbury Tech and Trends 2018

Here we look ahead to what’s coming up for the world of HR in the coming year…

People management never keeps still – there are always developments to keep on top of –  like the changes from last month’s budget that we mentioned in our November blog. Read it here.

Artificial Intelligence

AI (or Artificial Intelligence) is making great strides at the moment – and chatbots and other automated re-creations of HR ‘people’ are starting to appear. It’s not quite as weird as you may first think, though! Don’t worry that chatbots will replace you – but what they can do is help to automate some of the time-consuming tasks that you don’t have time for, or speed up certain processes.

For instance, they allow employees to connect with the HR department via their mobile devices and they can also respond really quickly to employee questions that need instant answers. You can’t be in two places at once, so it makes sense to let them deal with these things.

Chatbots also offer a really efficient way to collect employee data – then you can do the clever stuff by analysing what that data tells you.

See! Nothing to be afraid of – it’s like having another assistant.

Job Seeking

In the old days (well, not that old really!) the newspaper was the only place to look for jobs.

Social media is where it’s all happening nowadays – LinkedIn has long been identified as one of the best job sites around – and Facebook has recently introduced its new job posting feature. You’ll know from your own experience with Facebook that it is very clever at targeting its ads to the right people – and the job postings are proving popular already with local companies. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to be picked up by the bigger corporations – one to watch.

Recruitment

Another interesting development around recruiting is collaborative hiring. One of the best ways to recruit new people is to enlist your staff – they are the best ambassadors for your company, they are in your workplace, are (hopefully) happy there, and will be keen to let people they want to work with have the opportunity to join them.

There’s a number of ways in which you can encourage them to help you recruit new staff – for instance employee referral programs are a good idea, teamed with incentives.

You can also take advantage of content such as employee testimonials, which can be shared to prospective candidates, and use communication tools for the team – you could collaborate using an online project tool such as Slack or Asana.

Finally, you could look at the Interactive rating and ranking of candidates with an ATS (applicant tracking system see www.recruitee.com).

Increased Engagement

Interestingly, the use of technology will enable HR to engage more with candidates. In the past, with so many people applying for each position, it has often been impossible to respond to each one, unless you are inviting them for interview. Using mail templates, you can now create personalised responses to candidates – adding in feedback and so on.

One of the great things about the technological advances being made is that the routine, admin-type tasks can now be handled by specific software, freeing the HR professional up to work on the more complex jobs, such as ensuring staff are happy and offering development opportunities.

HR Software

There are many HR software solutions which enable you to automate many of those admin tasks – such as employee personnel details, managing time off like holidays, sickness absence and family friendly leave among others. They enable workflows that offer best practice for jobs such as recruitment, training and induction.

 

If you would like to discuss this subject further and find out how we can help you embrace the latest developments in managing people, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 07767 308717 or contact us via our website.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace-HR-Aylesbury-Blog-November-2017

What will the latest Autumn Budget statement mean for HR, plus an update on changes in employment law in the past year…

While much of the budget statement from 22 November tackled the housing crisis in the UK, there were a number of changes that will be useful for HR folk.

First, Chancellor Philip Hammond declared that the National Living Wage was to increase – rising to £7.83 for employees aged 25 plus from next year. Also, the tax-free personal allowance will rise to £11,850 in April 2018, while the higher-rate tax threshold will also increase to £46,350.

Good news for HR and training departments was the announcement of an investment in skills development – more specifically digital learning – with the launch of a partnership between the Government, CBI and TUC. It is estimated that poorly performing managers cost the UK £84 billion in lost productivity, so an investment in professional skills can only be a good thing – it can also help to tackle the skills gap.

In terms of employment, the Chancellor also committed to future jobs, with a budget of £500m for projects covering fibre broadband, AI and 5G. The future of work for HR professionals is to ensure that skills in the digital arena are updated and we continue to train in soft and transferrable skills. Who knows what is the future of jobs! Ten years ago we did not have social media professionals, nor drone operatives! Read one of our previous blogs on the subject here. [Skills Crisis Ahead dated September 2017]

Updates in employment law

It’s important to keep up to date with employment law – there are always changes being implemented – and while we usually catch the major alterations, sometimes those ‘tweaks’ slip through without us noticing.

One set of changes that did receive a lot of press were the reforms to tackle the gender pay gap.

The Government introduced a new requirement, which means large organisations must reveal their gender pay gap by publishing key wage information. This will include the difference in hourly earnings as well as gaps in bonus pay.

Other reforms made in 2017 included:

Union action: The Trade Unions Act underwent a number of reforms relating to trade union ballots, including the necessity for a 50% turnout for ballots to be valid; 40% of members to support industrial action and a four-month time limit for a ballot remaining valid to authorise industrial action.

Apprenticeship Levy: Employers paying more than £3 million a year in wages will have to pay a new apprenticeship levy to help meet the cost of apprenticeship schemes across the country. More on the subject here. [See ACAS Apprentices]

The Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017: Employers who sponsor skilled workers under tier 2 of the points-based system now must pay £1,000 per certificate. A paper trail should be in place to show that the employer has checked that this employee has the right to work in the UK. [See The Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017 on the legislation.gov website]

General Data Protection Regulations: From May 2018 employers will have to carry out audits of employee personal data that they collect and process  – see the ICO booklet: ‘Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulations – 12 steps to take‘ [See the ICO website/Request for Publications].

If you would like to discuss this subject further and find out how we can help you manage your HR requirements, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited on telephone: 07767 308717 or contact us via our website. 

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury Planning Ahead

Don’t leave it until the last minute, human resources planning for 2018 should start now!

No doubt the business planning process within your organisation has already started, so you’ll want to consider any impact on your staffing capabilities.

Here’s some tips to help with any resultant impact and at the same time to improve your HR department’s performance by looking at the following areas:

Talent acquisition and development

The world of business never stands still, and there is always a need to recruit new staff. Think about how you could improve your recruitment programme – fill more positions within the target deadline maybe and improve your employee retention rates.

One way to improve retention is to ensure that staff are well trained and being developed so that they can achieve their potential. Look at ways to improve your development programmes; ask yourself how more employees could achieve development goals – and how you can improve the feedback you receive on the development and training programmes.

Performance management

The ultimate goal is that your staff perform to their very best within their targets. Make sure you’re on top of the game by managing performance reviews, so that they happen by the target date and also ensuring that the reviews are a positive exercise, rather than just a box-ticking one. Read more on appraisals here. [Appraisals and Why once a Year is not Enough Blog January 2017]

What incentives are there to help keep employees motivated? Revisit your company’s benefits and incentives programme and decide whether you need to improve it.

Boost employee morale

Consider the morale levels in your company. This is especially important in a worrying economic climate. Are there ways that you could improve the working conditions and recognise achievements that will keep your staff happy? Find ideas on keeping your staff happy on an earlier blog of ours here. [Happy Employees in the Workplace Blog August 2017]

Develop your leaders

Training, professional development and mentor programmes are really valuable to managers and would-be managers within an organisation. Helping people to progress on their career path will encourage them to stay within your company and to pass on the skills they have learned.

Improve efficiency

Work with your managers to increase the efficiency of both individuals and teams within your organisation. Look at work routines and keep an eye out for areas where work is duplicated – encouraging departments to work together can easily eliminate this.

Another way of doing this, would be to automate your HR administration. If you haven’t yet looked at HR software or an automation tool, then now would be a great time to do so – get it in place for 1 January 2018!

HR software takes the hassle out of everyday HR management; providing a self-managing role for staff, managing attendance, family friendly leave, performance, communication and other HR processes. Staff can easily access holiday information, and review and request holiday time from their own home. Find out more on that here. [HR Software Free Trial]

If you would like to discuss this subject further and find out how we can help you achieve your new year goals, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 07767 308717 or send an email.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury Skills crisis

As Brexit gets ever-nearer, and the world of work changes with technological advances, the UK is heading towards a skills shortage that will hit employers hard…

The UK is falling behind its European counterparts when it comes to education levels and training in the workplace, according to research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

As Britain heads towards a future out of Europe, the CIPD’s report – From ‘inadequate’ to ‘outstanding’: making the UK’s skills system world-class – shows that the UK lags behind most OECD (The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries in at least four major skillsets.

You can download and read the full report here [CIPD Policy Report April 2017].

To put this in perspective – the UK and Northern Ireland are at the bottom of 19 countries in terms of young people’s computer-solving skills and in the bottom four for literacy and numeracy for 16- to 24-year-olds.

The research also shows that UK employers spend less on training than the other main EU countries. Back in 2010 the average cost was 266 per employee compared to 511 across the EU – and this disparity is only getting wider.

Employers have been highlighting this lack of skills and the lack of development for more than a decade, but little practical action appears to have taken place. The CIPD has already called for the government to put skills at the core of the national industrial strategy, as well as looking for organisations to invest in more training in the workplace and to look to increase their skills bases. This also means that HR professionals will have a major role to play in identifying where there are skills deficits, and devising strategies to compensate.

When it comes to digital skills, the problem is that some of the jobs that are available now hadn’t really been thought of 15 years ago – just consider social media and digital content vacancies. When Facebook first began 13 years ago, how many people would have imagined that it would be possible to make a living running a social media strategy for a company!

And as technology advances, there are going to be more – not less – jobs that we could not have imagined. HR staff can help by staying on top of advances and identifying where training existing staff will help productivity or where it is necessary to being in employees skilled in certain areas.

It is not only in digital skills that the UK is lacking either – a recent CBI survey [Independent: UK migration figures underscore acute risk of labour shortage, leading business groups warn – 24 August 2017] suggests that the skills shortage in the services sector – is the worst it has been for 19 years. And with the likely exit of many Eastern European nationals – who are at the heart of a number of our industries such as construction and care – who is going to be building all the new homes the government is planning or caring for our elderly in a nation where we are all living longer than ever before?

“The loss of these vital skills should concern us all,” says Matthew Percival, head of employment at the Confederation of British Industry.

Vocational training is necessary to plug this gap – and it needs to happen quickly – with Brexit happening in the very near future, we need to get people trained and ready to work as soon as possible.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 07767 308717 or contact us via our website.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury Satisfied employees

From a rather way out suggestion from a Swedish politician, to some rather more reserved suggestions – there are plenty of ways you can make your workplace a happier place!

HR professionals must have been left reeling in Sweden after a politician suggested that sex breaks in the workplace would be good for the physical and mental health of employees! The vote on his proposal is due in the spring, so we will look forward to seeing the results…

In the meantime, it is worth looking at how you can keep your employees happy in more conventional ways. After all, we all know how ensuring your workforce is content can result in better productivity for any company. It also encourages your people to stay with you, cutting back on time and resources spent on recruiting and training new staff.

Work/Life Balance

We are certainly not suggesting that you introduce conjugal breaks, but ensuring that your staff have a healthy work/life balance will help them maintain healthy relationships outside of work. And people who are in happy, healthy relationships tend to work better and be more focused, which can only be of benefit for your organisation. Considering policies that allow flexible working and discouraging a workplace culture of outside-hours working will also help.

When it comes to relationships at work, you need to consider whether you have some sort of Romance Policy in place, and what needs to happen should romances between colleagues flourish – according to reports around 15% of people meet partners at work, so it’s something that needs to be addressed by HR. I have written about this subject before.

Employee Benefits

A study in the Journal of Labor Economics in October 2015 found that happy employees generated about 12% more work than others, so it really is worth spending the time to ensure your staff are content, especially if you consider that research by employee benefits and perks company Perkbox found that 30% (that’s 6.5 million!) of UK workers are unhappy at work and would move jobs for better benefits.

A massive 69% said company perks and benefits were important to their overall satisfaction and more than a quarter pointed out that lack of reward and recognition for good work was their main grievance at work.

Recognition & Praise

Recognising and acknowledging good work and effort is not hard to do – encourage your managers to praise on a daily basis where it is due – and make sure that it is widely known that recognition can come in several forms, whether verbally, by email or for more major achievements using a more public vehicle such as company newsletter or intranet.

Holiday Entitlement

Finally, while it is still summer – though we think someone may have forgotten to tell the weather – do remember that it is vitally important to have a break. Managers should not only encourage their staff to take at least one long break, rather than lots of odd days, but should also plan in advance for cover and ensure there is a sufficient handover. This will help your staff to go away without fear of being contacted while they are on holiday – and also ensure that the remaining staff members don’t end up doing two jobs while their colleague is away. More advice on this here.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR.

T: 07767 308717 or send an email.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.